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Do Not Pity the Democrats

Posted on Sep 12, 2010
AP / Elise Amendola

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“Poor people do not organize,” Nader lamented. “They never have. It has always been people who have fairly good jobs. You don’t see Wal-Mart workers massing anywhere. The people who are the most militant are the people who had the best blue-collar jobs. Their expectation level was high. When they felt their jobs were being jeopardized they got really angry. But when you are at $7.25 an hour you want to hang on to $7.25 an hour. It is a strange thing.”

“People have institutionalized oppressive power in the form of surrender,” Nader said. “It is not that they like it. But what are you going to do about it? You make the best of it. The system of control is staggeringly dictatorial. It breaks new ground and innovates in ways no one in human history has ever innovated. You start in American history where these corporations have influence. Then they have lobbyists. Then they run candidates. Then they put their appointments in top government positions. Now, they are actually operating the government. Look at Halliburton and Blackwater. Yesterday someone in our office called the Office of Pipeline Safety apropos the San Bruno explosion in California. The press woman answered. The guy in our office saw on the screen that she had CTR next to her name. He said, ‘What is CTR?’ She said, ‘I am a contractor.’ He said, ‘This is the press office at the Department of Transportation. They contracted out the press office?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but that’s OK, I come to work here every day.’ ” 

“The corporate state is the ultimate maturation of American-type fascism,” Nader said. “They leave wide areas of personal freedom so that people can confuse personal freedom with civic freedom—the freedom to go where you want, eat where you want, associate with who you want, buy what you want, work where you want, sleep when you want, play when you want. If people have given up on any civic or political role for themselves there is a sufficient amount of elbow room to get through the day. They do not have the freedom to participate in the decisions about war, foreign policy, domestic health and safety issues, taxes or transportation. That is its genius. But one of its Achilles’ heels is that the price of the corporate state is a deteriorating political economy. They can’t stop their greed from getting the next morsel. The question is, at what point are enough people going to have a breaking point in terms of their own economic plight? At what point will they say enough is enough? When that happens, is a tea party type enough or [Sen. Robert M.] La Follette or Eugene Debs type of enough?”

It is anti-corporate movements as exemplified by the Scandinavian energy firm Kraft&Kultur that we must emulate. Kraft&Kultur sells electricity exclusively from solar and water power. It has begun to merge clean energy with cultural events, bookstores and a political consciousness that actively defies corporate hegemony. 

The failure by the Obama administration to use the bailout and stimulus money to build public works such as schools, libraries, roads, clinics, highways, public transit and reclaiming dams, as well as create green jobs, has snuffed out any hope of serious economic, political or environmental reform coming from the centralized bureaucracy of the corporate state. And since the government did not hire enough auditors and examiners to monitor how the hundreds of billions in taxpayer funds funneled to Wall Street are being spent, we will soon see reports of widespread mismanagement and corruption. The rot and corruption at the top levels of our financial and political systems, coupled with the increasing deprivation felt by tens of millions of Americans, are volatile tinder for a horrific right-wing backlash in the absence of a committed socialist alternative.   

“If you took a day off and did nothing but listen to Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh and realized that this goes on 260 days a year, you would see that it is overwhelming,” Nader said. “You have to almost have a genetic resistance in your mind and body not to be affected by it. These guys are very good. They are clever. They are funny. They are emotional. It beats me how Air America didn’t make it, except it went after [it criticized] corporations, and corporations advertise. These right-wingers go after government, and government doesn’t advertise. And that is the difference. It isn’t that their message appeals more. Air America starved because it could not get ads.”

We do not have much time left. And the longer we refuse to confront corporate power the more impotent we become as society breaks down. The game of electoral politics, which is given legitimacy by the right and the so-called left on the cable news shows, is just that—a game. It diverts us from what should be our daily task—dismantling, piece by piece, the iron grip that corporations hold over our lives. Hope is a word that is applicable only to those who grasp reality, however bleak, and do something meaningful to fight back—which does not include the farce of elections and involvement in mainstream political parties. Hope is about fighting against the real forces of destruction, not chanting “Yes We Can!” in rallies orchestrated by marketing experts, television crews, pollsters and propagandists or begging Obama to be Obama. Hope, in the hands of realists, spreads fear into the black heart of the corporate elite. But hope, real hope, remains thwarted by our collective self-delusion.


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By Druthers, September 13, 2010 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

I posted this comment on another blog but it says what I think.
I would add that Chris Hedges is the conscience of our time in an era that has no conscience, just as Voltaire was the voice of doubt and criticism of the French Monarchy.

The class war is over just like in Iraq. The problem is that the oligarchy won and is whistling all the way to the bank. The lobbies, the corporations, the Pentagon have devoured all the bowls of porridge and even the bears are hungry.

The first thing Obama did was to nominate Emmanuel and we knew what game we were playing and the house always wins. They made a mistake in the level of investment people had put into the election. The oldies expected FDR and the younger JFK but at least now no one can ignore the power of the oligarchy. It is here and it is real. Business as usual will not rid us of it. An entirely new strategy must be worked out and there won’t be one brain to many to get the job done.

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By Rosemary Molloy, September 13, 2010 at 3:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A year or so ago, I was at the post office and was amazed to see that it has a hook-up with either The Home Depot or Lowe’s.  There were actually forms with the company logo, encouraging some kind trade with the company, possibly moving services.  I’m not sure how long this has been going on; it startled me and left a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t find anything on the USPS web site on it.

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By SemiFrost, September 13, 2010 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

First, I like Nader, agree with him about 100%.  Like I said, the guy is a warrior for the good.

That said: I’m going to opt for the agree-to-disagree option on this exchange.  No further debate postings on the Gore / Nader issue.  Only mentioned as to the *difference between the parties* aspect - and that pivotal swing in the course of history.

Gore is environmental, and never would have buried us in war - at least not to the depth to which we now find ourselves.

Hedges wrote a good (albeit typically depressing) piece.  Will not further detract from the subject.

... Lieberman.  Brilliant.  Like I said, Gore had plenty of faults and failings.  That move was a big example of his bad political judgment.  A REAL big example.

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By ofersince72, September 13, 2010 at 3:36 am Link to this comment


  SO WHAT ! ! ! Are you trying to stir that ten year
nonsense up again that it is Nader’s fault?
NO, it is your fault for voting Gore/Lieberman.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, September 13, 2010 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

Hedges is right on target here. The Democrats and Republicans are a joke. The old state must be smashed.

Forget Obama, people need to start reading Bakunin.

We have to invent new revolutionary actions and movements. The Greeks are starting to get the picture, in Latin America as well, maybe Venezuela and Bolivia are not perfect, ideal systems, but it’s a sign the people down there woke up long ago. Now we need to also bring about revolutionary change in our own way!

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By SemiFrost, September 13, 2010 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

“On November 8, 2000, the Florida Division of Elections reported that Bush won with 48.8% of the vote, a margin of victory of 1,784 votes.”
“Nader received 97000 votes in Florida”

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By ardee, September 13, 2010 at 3:16 am Link to this comment

SemiFrost, September 13 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Nader… That’s the well-meaning gent who gave us Bush II, right?

Actually,no. That you continue to echo this tired and dis-proven mantra suggests that you haven’t read, researched or given much thought to what you post.

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By ofersince72, September 13, 2010 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

The….Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
is hardly a right-wing scare organization.  Here is there
conclusion of the
The Food and Safety Enhancement Act
HR2749 (already passed)
S510   (due for a unanimous consent vote)

The FSEA gives the Food and Drug Administration tremendous
power while making the Agency less accountable for its
actions. It fails to describe how the resources it provides will be allocated. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation
, but the bill does nothing to prevent the FDA from concentrating a disproptionate amount of its resources
on local food producers.
  The stated purpose of FSEA is to “improve the safety of food in the global market.” It was disclosed at the June
3rd hearing that, out of the 378,000 food facilities that
have registared with the FDA, 220,000 of them are foreign
facilities that export to the United States. Rep Dingell
commented that the percentageof our food coming from out of the country will increase in the future.  This creates massive food insecurity in our country, yet the bill
continues to push the federal governments policy of food
interdependence.  While information FDA obtains may be
exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information
Act [5 USC 52(a)] it may still be provided “to any foreign
government agency; or any international organization established by law, treaty or other governmental action
and having responsibility to facilitate global or regional
of harmonization of standares and requirements in a area of responsibility of the FDA; or to provide and
coordinate public health efforts….”[section112(b)(4)p71]
  Food security is achieved by becoming as self-sufficient
as possible in food production.  Lessening the regulatory
burden on small farms and local artisanal producers will
improve both food security and food safety.  If the FESA
is implemented, many small farmers will not have the
economics of scale to comply with its onerous requirements
  The Food and Safety Enhancement Act needs to be defeated
Any food safety bill should target industrial food
processors and imports while leaving the local food
system alone.

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By SemiFrost, September 13, 2010 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Nader… That’s the well-meaning gent who gave us Bush II, right?  With the happy collaboration of SCOTUS, and the not-so-happy acquiescence of Gore, who essentially chickened (another less polite term comes to mind) out.  Sure, no denying that he remains a solid warrior, Nader.  Still, he should have seen Florida coming and got the F-k out.

(Now, Chomsky, oh, imagine were he to get some cable airtime.)

Agreed, of course, that the Dems are essentially enablers and the second-tier handmaidens of the oligarchy - worse than ever.  But, to the point of there being no difference between the parties: No denying, were Gore, for all his failings, to have taken the presidency, the US and the world would now be a much different place.

But I digress…  Or is it regress?

The resistance which C. Hedges encourages, the scale of it, is now impossible.  Well-executed en masse demonstrations, strikes and consumer abstinence from the goods and services produced by the adverse corporations is simply too much to ask of a dumbed-down, increasingly despairing, desperate and fearful populace.

Here is a heavier, more at-hand and nothing-left-to-lose hammer which could drop:  Those pissed off and ever-more frantic middle class and small business owners could, en masse, stop paying Federal taxes.  If even a small block does so, it would overwhelm enforcement capabilities.  And when others saw they were getting away with it, the number would rapidly increase.

The Feds (Wall Street / top 1 percent) would panic, with China, the Saudis, Japan and South Korea seeing their already fictional T-bill values about to crash.

But, such a movement would essentially require the conception of a third party, with articulate, honest and ridiculously gutsy leaders.  Their stated directives would be along the lines of:  *You can no longer use our money to support incompetent and corrupt corporations.  You can no longer use our money to murder foreign civilians and fatten the coffers of war profiteers in the execution of absurd and purposeless military endeavors.  If you get your sh-t together, you CAN use our money to build and rebuild infrastructure, educate our young people, provide quality health care to all US citizens, and…*

A long shot?  You know it.  A widely implausible Hollywood-scale long shot.  But more likely and far more bottom-line practical than banking on in-the-streets and consumer boycott uprisings.

That ain’t gonna happen.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 13, 2010 at 2:02 am Link to this comment

Strategic Disengagement. These two words are not a description, but a living action. Strategic Disengagement: not only in the area of politics, but culturally and metaphysically as well.
There are no solutions to be found in our celebrity driven Cul-de-Sac, just continuous distraction.

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By Dennis, September 13, 2010 at 1:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Cris, for continuing to lay out the truth as it is. I have vowed to never vote for a democrat or a Repub again. I know, never say never, but I feel so betrayed they would have to be burnt down and built up for me to entrust them again.

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By ofersince72, September 13, 2010 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

Hey Capitol Hill

  Think love and tolorance, practice it, not just empty
  give forgivness, don’t just ask for it.
  be a peacemaker, don’t be a warmonger
  be meek,  not haughty
  work for the 300 million, not the 05%
  give the young something to look forward to, not
  reasons of hopelessness.
  DON’T ATTACK IRAN!!!!!!!!!!!REPEAL 107-40!!!!!!!

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